Medium Tank M4E1

Medium Tank M4E1

Medium Tank M4E1

The Medium Tank M4E1 was an experimental version of the Sherman that used a diesel version of the Wright G200 Cyclone air-cooled radial engine.

The original Wright Cyclone was a petrol powered engine, but the Caterpillar Tractor Company managed to modify the engine so it could also use diesel or even crude oil. The modified engine was designated the Caterpillar D200A and used a mix of Wright and Caterpillar components, with the pistons, cylinder heads, crankcase, fuel injection system and lubrication coming from Caterpillar. The new engine also had a transfer case that increased the rotational speed of the drive shaft, and also lowered it. One of the reasons for the high profile of the M4 Sherman was the high position of the crankshaft in the original design. The D200A could produce 450hp at 2,000rpm.

In 1942 the Ordnance Department authorised the production of 28 D200As, of which twenty were to be installed in the M4. In November 1942 the M4 with D200A was given the designation M4E1.

The M4E1 was based on the M4A4, which had a longer hull to make room for its Chrysler multi-bank engine. A series of standard M4A4s were delivered to Caterpillar. The new engine was still slightly too large for the engine compartment, and so a larger square bulge had to be installed on the rear deck, replacing the narrow rectangular bulge on the M4A4. The M4E1s had a mix of the three piece and single piece nose.

The first M4E1 was ready in December 1942, and underwent tests at the Caterpillar Proving Grounds. The second went to Fort Knox in January 1943. The third went to the General Motors Proving Ground. The fourth went to Fort Knox in May 1943.

The tests at Fort Knox revealed problems with the standard clutch, which had to be replaced with a Lipe clutch. There was also a problem where the pistons scored the cylinder walls, which needed extra work to fix. The gear box in the single piece nose also turned out to be less reliable than the earlier model, and the specification had to be improved. Tests with 72 and 80 octane petrol proved that the new engine worked on those fuels, as well as on diesel.

These early tests suggested that the D200A engine was a very promising design. It was accepted for larger scale production as the Ordnance Engine RD1820, and 775 were ordered for use in the Medium Tank M4A6. This model of the Sherman entered production at the Detroit Tank Arsenal, and the first was completed on 28 October 1943. Production ended after only 75 of the 775 had been completed, mainly because the US Army decided to concentrate on petrol powered tanks.

The engines of the M4E1 and M4A6 weren't interchangeable, and so the M4E1 was withdrawn in March 1944. Fort Knox kept two for further tests with petrol fuel, and one remained at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, but the rest were scrapped or expended as targets.


The M4 Sherman Tank Epic Information Thread.. (work in progress)

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Shortly after Jeeps_Guns_Tanks started his substantial foray into documenting the development and variants of the M4, I joked on teamspeak with Wargaming's The_Warhawk that the next thing he ought to do was a similar post on the T-72.

Haha. I joke. I am funny man.

The production history of the T-72 is enormously complicated. Tens of thousands were produced it is probably the fourth most produced tank ever after the T-54/55, T-34 and M4 sherman.

For being such an ubiquitous vehicle, it's frustrating to find information in English-language sources on the T-72. Part of this is residual bad information from the Cold War era when all NATO had to go on were blurry photos from May Day parades:

As with Soviet aircraft, NATO could only assign designations to obviously externally different versions of the vehicle. However, they were not necessarily aware of internal changes, nor were they aware which changes were post-production modifications and which ones were new factory variants of the vehicle. The NATO designations do not, therefore, necessarily line up with the Soviet designations. Between different models of T-72 there are large differences in armor protection and fire control systems. This is why anyone arguing T-72 vs. X has completely missed the point you need to specify which variant of T-72. There are large differences between them!

Another issue, and one which remains contentious to this day, is the relation between the T-64, T-72 and T-80 in the Soviet Army lineup. This article helps explain the political wrangling which led to the logistically bizarre situation of three very similar tanks being in frontline service simultaneously, but the article is extremely biased as it comes from a high-ranking member of the Ural plant that designed and built the T-72. Soviet tank experts still disagree on this read this if you have some popcorn handy. Talking points from the Kharkov side seem to be that T-64 was a more refined, advanced design and that T-72 was cheap filler, while Ural fans tend to hold that T-64 was an unreliable mechanical prima donna and T-72 a mechanically sound, mass-producible design.

So, if anyone would like to help make sense of this vehicle, feel free to post away. I am particularly interested in:

-What armor arrays the different T-72 variants use. Diagrams, dates of introduction, and whether the array is factory-produced or a field upgrade of existing armor are pertinent questions.

-Details of the fire control system. One of the Kharkov talking points is that for most of the time in service, T-64 had a more advanced fire control system than contemporary T-72 variants. Is this true? What were the various fire control systems in the T-64 and T-72, and what were there dates of introduction? I am particularly curious when Soviet tanks got gun-follows-sight FCS.

-Export variants and variants produced outside the Soviet Union. How do they stack up? Exactly what variant(s) of T-72 were the Iraqis using in 1991?

-WTF is up with the T-72's transmission? How does it steer and why is its reverse speed so pathetically low?

Hello, my friends and Kharkovites, take a sit and be ready for your brains to start to work - we are going to tell you a terrible secret of how to tell apart Soviet tanks that actually works like GLORIOUS T-80 and The Mighty T-72 from Kharkovites attempt to make a tank - the T-64. Many of capitalists Westerners have hard time understanding what tank is in front of them, even when they know smart words like "Kontakt-5" ERA. Ignoramus westerners!


Because you are all were raised in several hundreds years old capitalism system all of you are blind consumer dummies, that need big noisy labels and shiny colorful things to be attached to product X to be sold to your ignorant heads and wallets, thats why we will need to start with basics. BASICS, DA? First - how to identify to which tank "family" particular MBT belongs to - to T-64 tree, or T-72 line, or Superior T-80 development project, vehicles that don't have big APPLE logo on them for you to understand what is in front of you. And how you can do it in your home without access to your local commie tank nerd?


Easy! Use this Putin approved guide "How to tell appart different families of Soviet and Russian tanks from each other using simple and easy to spot external features in 4 steps: a guide for ignorant western journalists and chairborn generals to not suck in their in-depth discussions on the Internet".

Chapter 1: Where to look, what to see.

T-64 - The Ugly Kharkovite tank that doesn't work

We will begin with T-64, a Kharkovite attempt to make a tank, which was so successful that Ural started to work on their replacement for T-64 known as T-72. Forget about different models of T-64, let's see what is similar between all of them.

T-72 - the Mighty weapon of Workers and Peasants to smash westerners

Unlike tank look-alike, made by Kharkovites mad mans, T-72 is true combat tank to fight with forces of evil like radical moderate barbarians and westerners. Thats why we need to learn how identify it from T-64 and you should remember it's frightening lines!

The GLORIOUS T-80 - a Weapon to Destroy and Conquer bourgeois countries and shatter westerners army

And now we are looking at the Pride of Party and Soviet army, a true tank to spearhead attacks on decadent westerners, a tank that will destroy countries by sucking their military budgets and dispersing their armies in vortex of air, left from high-speed charge by the GLORIOUS T-80!

The T-80 shooting down jets by hitting them behind the horizont

Since I clearly have too much time on my hands, and Jeeps has a pretty cool tread going on, I decided that I'm going to do the same thing, but for T-34s. Here's a quick sample that I whipped up last night, I'm probably going to cover major exterior features of at least wartime T-34s and T-34-85s, then we'll see. I'll update the document in batches per organic time period rather than some arbitrary year-based cutoff.


World War II Database


ww2dbase On 31 Aug 1940, the United States Army Ordnance Department submitted the M4 tank design as a potential replacement for the existing M3 tanks. It was approved on 18 Apr 1941 as the prototype promised a tank that was as capable as the successful German tanks. The first model was completed on 2 Sep 1941, and the design entered full production in Feb 1942, three months after the United States entered WW2.

ww2dbase During the war, the M4 tanks, now nicknamed "Sherman" by the British, served with the United States with its Army and Marine Corps, and also with several Allied nations, notably Britain and Canada, and with the Soviet forces. The first American Sherman tanks in combat were of the M4A1 variant that landed in North Africa in Nov 1942 during Operation Torch, although the British had already saw combat with them a month before at the Second Battle of El Alamein in Egypt. They were extremely effective with high top speed, adequate armor to stop smaller caliber anti-tank guns, and weapons capable of penetrating German armor. Through the Desert War, they slowly replaced their predecessor, the M3 Lee tanks, as the main medium tank of the United States Army. After the invasion of Normandy in Jun 1944, it was discovered that the 75-millimeter guns found in earlier Sherman tanks were ineffective against new German tank types, namely the Panther and Tiger models, and two new variants were produced, one with the new high velocity 76-millimeter M1 guns and the other with a 90-millimeter M3 guns. Despite the upgrades, however, the armament of Sherman tanks were still far inferior to the Panther tanks' 75-millimeter gun, only effective against Panther tanks at close range, which led to the high loss rate at the start of the Normandy Campaign. In Jul 1944, the hypervelocity armor piercing (HVAP) ammunition entered mass production as M93 and became the standard armor piercing ammunition, which eased the situation slightly, but limited production meant only tank destroyer units received them. By the end of the European War, half of the US Army tanks in this theater were M4 Sherman tanks.

ww2dbase While Americans developed more lethal rounds to improve the M4 Sherman tanks, the British took a different approach. Royal Tank Regiment Major George Brighty led an effort to modify certain batches of M4 Sherman tanks, particularly the M4 (Sherman I) and M4A4 (Sherman V) variants, so that they would carry the larger caliber 17-pounder guns. The end result were the Sherman Firefly tanks, which effectively became the most powerfully gunned Allied tanks of World War II, capable of dueling the feared German Panther and Tiger tanks. Sherman Firefly tanks were first used by British and Commonwealth units on 6 Jun 1944 at the Normandy landings, and were used until the end of the European War.

ww2dbase In the Pacific War, where tank battles were few and far in-between, the M4 Sherman tanks easily out-classed their Japanese counterparts. Unlike their North African and European counterparts, the Sherman tanks deployed to the Pacific often used high explosive rounds instead of armor piercing rounds the decision was made due to the reason that the Japanese tanks were thinly-armored, and armor piercing rounds often went through the tank without detonating the explosives. The armor piercing rounds, though, remained effective against defensive fortifications. Rather unique in the Pacific theater was the deployment of Sherman tanks that were equipped with flamethrowers, which were seen in the European War but the usage was limited. The M4 Sherman design had a escape hatch at the bottom of the hull, originally placed to provide another route of escape should the tank become disabled. This hatch gained an alternative use in the Pacific War as a method of recovering the wounded as Japanese snipers frequently targeted Americans dispatched to treat them.

ww2dbase Notable weaknesses of the M4 Sherman tanks include the ease for earlier variants to catch fire when struck by enemy armor piercing rounds. Despite this negative characteristic, the majority of Sherman tank losses were not attributed to duels with enemy vehicles rather, they were more often lost to mines, aircraft, and infantry anti-tank weapons. They were also known for their difficulty when traversing across soft terrain, such as snow or mud, due to the narrow width. To remedy this weakness, Soviet tank crews modified the tracks for better grip.

ww2dbase After the war, the US Army continued to employ Sherman tanks of the M4A3E8 variant, equipped with either 76-millimeter guns or 105-millimeter howitzers. They saw action in the Korean War despite new tank models had already entered service. During the M4 Sherman design's production life, over 50,000 units were built.

ww2dbase Sources: Sherman Firefly, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jan 2008

M4(105)

MachineryOne Continental R975 C1 gasoline engine rated at 400hp
SuspensionVertical Volute Spring Suspension
Armament1x105mm howitzer, 1x12.7mm Browning M2HB machine gun, 2x7.82mm Browning M1919A4 machine guns
Armor19-91mm
Crew5
Length5.84 m
Width2.62 m
Height2.74 m
Weight30.0 t
Speed24 km/h
Range193 km

M4A3E8(76)W

MachineryOne Ford GAA V8 gasoline engine
SuspensionVertical Volute Spring Suspension
Armament1x76mm M1 gun, 1x12.7mm Browning M2HB machine gun, 2x7.82mm Browning M1919A4 machine guns
Armor19-91mm
Crew5
Length5.84 m
Width2.62 m
Height2.74 m
Weight30.0 t
Speed24 km/h
Range193 km

M4A2

MachineryOne GM 6046 2x6 diesel engine
SuspensionVertical Volute Spring Suspension
Armament1x75 mm M3 L/40 gun (90 rounds), 1x12.7mm Browning M2HB machine gun, 2x7.82mm Browning M1919A4 machine guns
Armor19-91mm
Crew5
Length5.84 m
Width2.62 m
Height2.74 m
Weight30.0 t
Speed24 km/h
Range193 km

M4A1

MachineryOne Continental R975 C1 gasoline engine rated at 400hp
SuspensionVertical Volute Spring Suspension
Armament1x75 mm M3 L/40 gun (90 rounds), 1x12.7mm Browning M2HB machine gun, 2x7.82mm Browning M1919A4 machine guns
Armor12-75mm
Crew5
Length5.84 m
Width2.62 m
Height2.74 m
Weight33.0 t
Speed39 km/h
Range193 km

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
6 Mar 2014 07:49:21 PM

this was good information, but it does need more info on the battles they were used in and how they were used in those battles

2. Caspian says:
9 Jun 2014 11:29:19 PM

The "Ronson" nickname is a common myth, but it is a myth - only Sherman flamethrower tanks were given the nickname "Ronson" during the war. The "first time, every time" slogan wasn't even used by the Ronson company until the 1950's. Shermans burned no more often than their German counterparts, and later Shermans, equipped with wet ammo stowage and with firm controls on the amount of ammo stowed in the turret were the LEAST flammable tanks of WWII.

3. Anonymous says:
20 Oct 2014 06:19:32 PM

The Canadian M4 shown in the black and white photo, top right in the article, rolled onto the beach at Juno on D-day and was in Germany on VE Day after 4000 km traveled and 6000 rounds fired. It didn't miss a day for any reason.
http://www.rifles23.com/BombTank.html

4. Anonymous says:
25 Apr 2015 05:55:11 PM

a ronson advertisment form 1929 http://www.amazon.com/Ronson-cigarette-lighter-Broadway-Limited/dp/B00LNHDO3E

5. Anonymous says:
29 Jun 2017 02:04:06 PM

This is incorrect " The first American Sherman tanks in combat were of the M4A1 variant that landed in North Africa in Nov 1942 during Operation Torch, although the British had already saw combat with them a month before at the Second Battle of El Alamein in Egypt. "

6. Christian M. DeJohn says:
31 Aug 2017 08:16:40 AM

Sneak preview video-
Army veteran’s new book on the Sherman Tank Scandal of WWII:

All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.


Duster's Last Stand: The M42 Anti Aircraft Weapon System’s Final Days

The 40mm M2 Dual Automatic Gun is a truly awesome weapon when its twin machine cannons are pumping out 2-pound high-explosive tracer projectiles at the rate of four rounds each second to a maximum range in excess of 10,000 yards! On US Navy ships throughout World War II and on US Army armored vehicles in the latter part of the war and during Korea and Vietnam, the range and power of these Swedish-designed BOFORS guns was bad news not only to propeller-driven fixed wing aircraft, but to helicopters, armored vehicle convoys and even fortifications. In the broad category of “machine guns”, this is about as big and bad as the come.

What follows is not only a close look at the M2 in its land warfare configuration, but also an account of the last day the 40mm system was fired in the Virginia Army National Guard - among the last components of the United States Army to utilize the M42A1 “DUSTER.” On 14 April 1987, the Tank Range at Fort Pickett, Virginia vibrated with the measured thumping of eight BOFORS guns on four big, heavy, fully tracked and armored DUSTERS firing their last rounds.

The well-respected Swedish artillery manufacturer BOFORS introduced an automatic-loading 40mm antiaircraft cannon in 1929. This superior design found a receptive export market for defense of ships and ground targets. By the end of the first year of World War II, it was in first line service with the British and American military and sixteen other major nations.

Its performance and shell weight made it ideal for dealing with low-flying aircraft it was tough, simple, and reliable. The key to its mechanical performance was the top-mounted “autoloader unit.” This allowed a four round clip of cartridges to be dropped in place and gravity-fed into the gun as the breechblock recoiled open and slammed closed by spring/hydraulic mechanism. Although the practical rate of fire was some 60 rounds per minute, in a dire emergency, 120 rounds per minute could be fired without interruption by continuously dropping in fresh clips.

The American Army began producing it under license in 1941 as the 40mm Automatic Gun M1, and by the end of World War II some 34,000 had been turned out. The gun was well regarded on its initial M2A1 wheeled mount, easily towed behind trucks and quickly set up. However, the rapid movement of American armored divisions urgently necessitated development of a mobile gun carriage that would allow instant engagement of hostile aircraft.

The solution was to mount a twin Bofors gun atop a tank chassis for exceptional cross-country mobility. The cannon crew rode right in the gun tub so that they could immediately fire when their armored column was attacked by LUFTWAFFE fighters. Thick armored shields protected them from the attacking aircraft’s machine guns. The M13 Computing Sight took much of the guesswork out of the tough job of tracking a quick and nimble fighter. A power-operated traversing and elevating system turned the heavy gun and mount quickly and smoothly with a twist of the gunner’s wrist.

The fully tracked and armored M19 Motor Gun Carriage, with its twin 40mm BOFORS M2 Dual Automatic Machine Cannon, was adopted in June 1944. This clever combination of a modified M24 CHAFFEE Light Tank chassis and the combat-proven, quick-firing M1 heavy cannon provided the US Army’s fast-moving armored forces with an extremely potent weapon in the closing months of World War II.

In the Korean War of 1950-53, the M19 proved no match for the jet-powered MiG 15. Despite the powered turret and relatively sophisticated fire control of the M19, the Russian-built (and flown) jets were just too fast. It did, however, find excellent employment against enemy earthworks and vehicle concentrations.

Wearing out quickly in the harsh conditions of warfare on the Korean peninsula, the M19 was replaced in October 1953 by the M42. This improved system used the same gun and fire control, now mounted on the M41 “WALKER BULLDOG” tank chassis. Its intended post-war role was to keep up with fast-moving M48 “PATTON” Medium Tanks and provide them with protection against enemy rotary-wing aircraft.

Later, with the introduction of a radar-directed 20mm VULCAN powered cannon and rapid developments in antiaircraft missile systems, the M42 was clearly obsolete. However, its impending demise was delayed when the US began to take over defense of South Vietnam. This was a war in which the enemy had no aircraft in the South, but a lot of ground troops. The “DUSTER” found itself once again in the utilitarian role of direct fire against fortifications and even massed troops.

Although officially declared obsolete by the US Army after the Vietnam War, the M42 soldiered on in the National Guard until 1987 when the far more efficient STINGER anti-aircraft missile system.

The M42A1 is a full-tracked, armored, antiaircraft vehicle that can operate over all terrain compatible with medium tanks. Major armament is the 40mm dual automatic gun M2A1 on the M4E1 mount. This vehicle was designed for use with the maneuver forces against low-altitude air attack. Because of the rapid rates of fire, the gun proved to be effective as a support weapon against ground targets.

The interior of the vehicle is divided into three areas: driving compartment at the front, stowage compartment in the center, and engine compartment in the rear. The driving compartment contains the driving controls and instruments, as well as seats for the driver and the commander/radio operator. The stowage compartment serves as a base for the gun mount and has space for twelve boxes of 40mm ammunition. The engine compartment houses the main engine, auxiliary generator and engine, transmission, and fuel tanks. The gunner, squad leader, and cannoneer ride in the gun mount. The squad leader commands, using the intercommunications set AN/VIC-1, either from the commanders seat in the driving compartment or the gun mount.

This official Army doctrine was modified somewhat in practice. As with traditional artillery crews, each man is given a number as shown on the accompanying diagram. A National Guard “DUSTER” crew consists of a Squad Leader (SL), #1 Gun Pointer, #2 Right Cannoneer, #3 Left Cannoneer, and #4 Driver. Specific duties are assigned to each not only when firing, but also in routine operation and maintenance of the vehicle, gun, and mount.

The Squad Leader gives all gun commands. He is responsible for the efficient operation of the crew and system, as well as giving accurate fire control information on the intended target. The Gun Pointer actually aims the gun using the power control system or the hand wheels. He aligns the gun on target using either the direct fire ring sight, the direct fire M38 computing sight, or indirect fire with the azimuth indicator and gunners quadrant. He also fires the guns on command of the Squad Leader.

The Right and Left Cannoneers are more accurately termed “loaders” when the gun is actually operating. In addition to performing a specified series of mechanical tasks on each gun in immediate preparation for firing, these men lift the heavy clips of ammunition into place on the cannon. At the command “CEASE FIRING AND SECURE,” they unload any remaining rounds, open and inspect the breech, and set the safety lever. Their job becomes very hectic when reloading in sustained fire and quite dangerous when quickly removing misfired shells that may “hang-fire” at any moment! They are also responsible for the cleaning and lubricating of their cannons - a hard chore under any conditions.

The Driver is responsible for all the mechanical aspects of the vehicle, engine and track system. In additon to being skilled at maneuvering it cross-country, he must be able to perform routine repairs, and to ensure proper lubrication and other operator-level maintenance. All members of the crew are cross-trained in basic duties of the others so that the fire mission can be carried out even when there are casualties or shortages.

Left and Right Cannoneers each pull their hand-operating lever all the way to the rear and engage it in the rear latch bracket. Set the fire selector lever in the SAFE position. Push a clip of ammunition down the guides of the loader until the feed rollers are rotated and a cartridge drops into the loader tray. Immediately before firing is to take place, they disengage the hand-operating lever from the rear bracket latch and swing it forward to lock into the front latch bracket. Set the firing selector lever as ordered by the Squad Leader or Gunner to SINGLE or AUTO FIRE.

On the Squad Leader’s command to FIRE, the Gunner depresses the foot pedal to release the breechblock on the left gun. This allows it to run forward under spring and hydraulic pressure to feed, chamber, and lock a round. The firing pin trips automatically on locking, detonating the round.

The accompanying diagrams, taken from the official Army Technical Manual on the 40mm Automatic Gun M1, show the cycle of operation. On the twin mounted M2A1 Dual Automatic Gun a mechanical linkage ensures that the left gun must fire and recoil before the right gun can fire. This alternating feature gives a smooth, continuous action. In the event of a malfunction in one gun, this can be overridden so that at least the other gun can fire while the problem is being worked on.

The simplest form of aiming is provided by the Speed Ring Sight (8), a metal spider web that allows a trained gunner to mentally compute the speed, range, and attack angle of an aircraft, then “hold-off” by placing it in approximately the right ring while shooting. This allows some degree of accuracy in “panic shooting” at an airplane or helicopter that comes on suddenly. Tracers help “walk” the burst into the still moving target.

Whenever possible, the M38 Computing Sight should be used to engage aerial targets. This device automatically provides the gunner with the correct “lead” to the target. The accuracy of this is largely dependent on the skill of the Squad Leader (1) who must estimate the target speed, direction of flight, and the angle of dive or climb (2). He quickly sets these values into the M38 (8) while the Gunner (3) engages the power drive mechanism and aims the guns (4) in the direction of the target until it is centered on the reticle of the M24C Reflex Sight (5).

The M38 system mechanically computes the lead angle (6) based on target speed and flight direction extra elevation and traverse is automatically inserted. When target tracking is steady, the Gunner reports “ON.” If the target is still within range, the Squad Leader commands “FIRE.” The Gunner depresses the foot pedal to fire the guns and continues firing until the target is destroyed or the Squad Leader commands “CEASE FIRING.”

The Speed Ring is most useful in engaging moving targets on the ground such as trucks and armored fighting vehicles. With only range, speed and left-right movement to contend with, even a novice Gunner can quickly “walk” a burst right into the target with a minimum of wasted rounds. Also, the potent twin 40’s can be used as conventional artillery for indirect fire (out of the line of sight of the crew) by laying the guns for direction and elevation figures provided by a fire control officer. This exercise is made quite precise by use of the on-board Azimuth Indicator and the hand-held Gunners Quadrant.

It is important to choose the right ammunition for the job at hand. Most antiaircraft work is done with HIGH EXPLOSIVE-TRACER (SELF-DESTROYING). This has a muzzle velocity of 2,870 feet per second and a maximum vertical range of some 7,625 yards, but the tracer burns out at approx. 5,000 yards. It also features an internal time fuze that causes the shell to self-destruct near the limit of its maximum range if it misses the target.

Anti-armor work calls for ARMOR-PIERCING-TRACER. While its penetration of steel plate is not sufficient for use against main battle tanks, it will still punch right through most of the world’s infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers. This round is also just the ticket for busting up the enemy’s hardened concrete bunkers or even deep earthworks. This is the ammunition being fired by the crews in this feature.

Causing havoc among enemy supply truck columns or urban fighting positions calls for HIGH EXPLOSIVE INCINDIARY-TRACER. This not only has a nasty explosive effect, but the incendiary component will set just about anything except water or dirt on fire. Imagine the effect of a 20-second burst (80 rounds) of HEI-T on enemy rebels holed up in an abandoned hotel in some hotly disputed Third World city. No wonder the M42 is still in first line use with a number of South American and Asian countries!

The DUSTER is not the sort of weapon system that is likely to be encountered on the modern battlefield. A mere 5-second burst hurls 20 rounds - over 40 pounds of death and destruction! It would take a truckload of 7.62mm (.30 caliber) or 12.7mm (.50 cal.) machine gun ammo to equal the projectile weight — much less the explosive effect and resultant devastation.

At the time of this activity I was a Sergeant First Class assigned to the Headquarters of the Virginia Army National Guard, and it had been my privilege to attend numerous live fire training exercises conducted by the Guard. The last range day for the M42 DUSTER was one that I was not going to miss, so I set off for Fort Pickett for a look at history being made. I joined the soldiers of the 3rd Battalion of the 111th Field Artillery as they said a fond farewell to their faithful machines in a day of really big bore ammo burning and target punching.

The unofficial orders had come down from the chain of command — “Unless you shoot up all the obsolete 40mm ammo in storage at Pickett, it will have to be demilled at no small cost to the taxpayers.” The “Redlegs” of the 111th were determined not the let such a terrible fate befall a mountain of perfectly good 40mm ammo. It was their duty to pump it downrange as a last and final salute to the combat-proven DUSTER.

A tractor-trailer load of ammunition canisters was brought to the range and all soldiers pitched in to offload it and divide it up among the four gun systems. It takes two strong men to carry each 115-pound can of 16 cartridges. The M42 drivers, having completed after-operation maintenance checks on their vehicles, set about the task of unpacking the cans, and in some cases where the cartridges were bulk-packed, loading the nearly 5-pound cartridges into clips of four. Assisted by the Squad Leaders and Gunners, they lifted the 20-pound clipped ammunition onto the vehicle where it was stored in “ready racks” around the perimeter of the turret.

Meanwhile, the Cannoneers were carefully checking their guns and preparing them for firing. Numerous safety inspections and function checks must be performed exactly according to standards set forth in the Army Technical Manual that governs use of the gun system. These are well-tried and logical actions that ensure maximum safety to the crew, maximum efficiency in operation, and minimum chance for stoppages and malfunctions.

Then, under the practiced and expert eye of the Squad Leader, “Bore sighting and Synchronizing” was carried out. “Synchronizing” is the process of adjusting the computing sight so the computer leveling pads are always parallel to the gun mount carriage leveling pads at any elevation of the dual gun.

Bore sighting is the process of aligning the lines of sight of the sighting instruments with a line of sight through the axis of the gun bores to a common aiming point no less than 1,000 yards distant. This becomes necessary when the vehicle has been in rough terrain operation for extended periods of time (heavy impact and vibration tends to knock things out of alignment). While this is not absolutely necessary under intense combat operations involving movement, it is desirable and certainly most efficient when the vehicle is on a range to conduct target practice that will be scored.

The small, gasoline-powered auxiliary engines were started, turning the electrical generators necessary for sustained power to the electro-hydraulic turret and other systems. When all manual and power checks had been completed for all four guns (and a number of hasty repairs and adjustments carried out by the unit’s skilled Armorers) the Range Control Officer declared the firing line “HOT” and the four guns on line were ready to rock ‘n roll at a series of ground targets.

“The Firing Line is No Longer Clear — COMMENCE FIRING!”

Within seconds the first short bursts were pounding downrange blazing red-orange tracers marking their flight from muzzle to target. Spurts of propellant smoke issued from the tubes, clouds of trail dust lifted up from the tank engine, and - despite ear plugs worn by all - the sharp and heavy “POM-POM” sound of the alternating guns assaulted the hearing of crewmen and observers.

More guns joined in with the tempo and duration of the rhythmic pounding rising and falling as fire was adjusted and the tracers began finding their ground targets at varying ranges. Vapors of burning propellant drifted from the turrets, processed by one’s sense of smell as an odd combination of mild acid with a hint of perfume.

This preliminary firing exercise was designed to fully test all the basic functions of the gun and fire control system. It included engagement of prominent earthen mounds next to large wooden marker panels set off at predetermined ranges. Enormous painted numbers on each one revealed its distance from the firing line.

The first test was, of course, actual functioning of the guns when firing bursts. One gun, despite having passed all preliminary checks, simply refused to fire a chambered round and required additional attention of the crew and Armorer. This failure was met with catcalls of derision from the other crews as they went on to methodically fire the next exercises.

Secondly, sight computation and bore sight validation was verified by “dialing up” a predetermined range on the M38 and having the gunner align the reflex sight reticle with the center of the earth mound next to the correct panel for that range. A short burst instantly reveals whether the procedures have been correctly done. Any significant problems become increasingly evident as the range increases from 800 to 1200 meters.

Inevitably, there are small deviations in elevation and traverse necessary to hit the mound squarely at the farthest range. These are set into the sight and the firing can continue. Large deviations are more of a problem, and usually signal equipment failure if bore sighting and synchronizing had been carried out correctly.

With direct line of fire to target confirmed, the third exercise is to power traverse left to right and right to left while firing on long linear walls of earth, set parallel to the firing line at a distance of 600 meters. If the gunner and system are working well, the effect is a neat series of dust splashes along the earth wall at regular distances and in approximately a straight line.

The final ground exercise is fired on the diagonal earthen wall, running across the left half of the range fan from 600 meters on the left to some 1,000 meters at its right extreme. As best it can be done on the ground, this is intended to represent the approach or retreat of an attacking aircraft. Hitting it evenly and regularly as the gunner simultaneously depresses the tubes while traversing right to left develops skill in tracking an incoming plane or helicopter. Elevating the tubes while traversing left to right mimics a retreating aircraft.

This last exercise is the most challenging for a gunner and it requires a lot of experience to be successfully done. Not only is there disruption in the aim point from rocking of the tank chassis under pounding recoil, but also the cloud of smoke from shells being fired tends to obscure the sights at critical moments. And, as I found out when it was my turn, the powered traverse and elevation is not as smooth, stable, and speed stabilized as it appears to the observer. Assigned gunners must get used to the quirks and characteristics of their system in order to be really good.

Despite the fact that this was the last live fire to be conducted before turning in their veteran machines, the range exercise was conducted with great seriousness and attention to the purpose of training gunners and crewmen. As usual, scorers were on hand to judge each crew on the full range of their duties including speed of gun drill, safety procedures, precision accuracy, and numbers of stoppages. There were trophies and prizes awaiting the best gunners and best overall crews. Good units with motivated and professional soldiers like to be able to measure their skills in fair and tough competition.

With gun barrels dangerously hot from sustained firing, but plenty of ammunition to spare, the assigned gunners accepted their scorecards from the evaluators and made way for others in the crew to do the aiming and shooting. This was a rare opportunity for Drivers and Cannoneers to take charge of the gun systems and try their skill, and to suffer the mostly good-natured criticism of their teammates.

A 30-minute break in firing allowed the gun barrels to cool and for more ammunition to be placed in clips while system checks and adjustments were made. This was followed by another series of firing exercises - also graded - by much less experienced shooters including myself.

A couple of hours later, when all assigned crewmen had fired a full set of exercises, there was still enough ammunition left for a “Mad Minute.” This is a spectacular event calling for all guns on line to fire as fast as they can for a full minute. This simulates what happens when the desperate call for “Final Protective Fire” comes as a defensive position is about to be overrun by the enemy. “Mad Minute” firing has become almost extinct as money for ammunition becomes increasingly scarce and only the most stingy live fire practice takes place. For safety purposes, only thirty seconds - 120 rounds - of continuous fire was to be allowed. This avoided the dangerous situation of a severely overheated gun “cooking off” and detonating a partially chambered round if one of the paired guns somehow failed to completely cycle.

Each DUSTER had 30 clips of ammunition stowed in the ready racks, on the engine deck, and stacked alongside on the ground. The first crew to fire all 120 rounds would win the “Mad Minute” trophy - the last to ever be awarded in the Virginia National Guard, and possibly the last for the whole United States Army.

Each Squad Leader in turn gave the READY signal and, after a moment’s pause, the Range Safety Officer blew the whistle to COMMENCE FIRING. With a second or two delay as the first clips were seated on the autoloaders and the guns un-safetied, all four DUSTERS erupted at nearly the same moment, “POM-POMMING” 40mm Target Practice Tracer rounds downrange. In another couple of seconds, clouds of smoke nearly obscured the entire firing line, but the relentless pounding continued. All of the guns were working at highest efficiency and the crews eagerly hefted clips of ammunition up to the turrets. Cannoneers slammed them one after another into the ammunition guides where they were quickly ingested into the smoking chambers of the BOFORS guns.

Downrange, the dirt walls and mounds seemed to move like a storm-tossed brown and green sea as tracers cris-crossed the front and each impact tossed plumes of dirt into the air. Numerous ricochets zoomed up and out at crazy angles, some tumbling end-over-end like pinwheel fireworks. The effect was truly awesome, serving as both an exhilarating and sobering reminder of the deadly power of the quick-firing 40mm automatic cannon.

After what seemed like much longer than the mere 37.6 seconds the official timekeeper later noted, one gun ceased firing and its crew jubilantly waived the green ALL CLEAR flag, indicating that they were the first to fire all 120 rounds. Slower crews, barely noting this and intent on the task, continued to lift, feed, and fire until at last all had completed the task. The last round thumped downrange and its sound reverberated against the distant wood line and then died away. Forever.

In the early days of training anti-aircraft gunners, brave pilots would go aloft towing cloth banners from cables far behind their planes. After making a pass at the designated altitude, speed and direction — where a specific machine gun or cannon crew would try to hit the banner. Circling around, the pilot would drop the banner for the Gunnery Officer to count the holes and award this score to the crew. A second plane would tow another target over while the first would land to have a fresh one attached. This was inefficient, costly, and above all highly dangerous for the pilot and his craft when inexperienced or excited crews would “lead” the towed banner too much.

Interestingly, the solution to all these problems came from the radio-controlled aircraft hobby. It wasn’t long before the technique of using large ground-controlled model planes to tow scaled-down banners was tried and proved far more practical and safe. Each battalion of DUSTERS had a small R-CAT (Radio-Controlled Aerial Target) Detachment whose enviable job consisted of maintaining and flying six foot wingspan wood and cloth model planes powered by modified high-performance lawnmower engines.

Unfortunately for the realism of our final day of DUSTER gunnery, the R-CAT Detachment was not available to fly their mini-fighters. They had been ordered to prepare all of their planes and other equipment for immediate turn-in and orders - no matter how seemingly stupid - are not to be taken lightly.

And in the days that followed, a 25-ton vehicle with a crew of five men was replaced by a shoulder-fired weapon requiring only a single soldier. The burden of anti-aircraft duties was officially surrendered to the high-technology STINGER missile system, a 34.5-pound supersonic “fire-and-forget” heat-seeking guided missile with the ability to engage aircraft approaching from any direction including head-on. As repeatedly proven in Afghanistan, its speed, long range, flight tracking and exceptional infrared counter-counter measures make the STINGER the equal of the most sophisticated ground attack aircraft.

Brute strength had been pushed aside by scientific triumph in a story as old as that of the crossbow replacing the broadsword. Although another sad day for those of us who love the smell of burning powder and the sound of a fully tracked land ship speeding over broken terrain, we take heart that the United States Army will continue to field the best weapons that our political leadership will allow us to buy.

1. General Data for Twin 40mm Gun Motor Carriage M42A1

Manufacturer:
General Motors Corporation
Armament:
one 40mm Automatic Dual Gun and one 7.62x51mm Machine Gun.
Engine:
Continental Mfg., 6- cylinder, air-cooled, gasoline powered.
Transmission:
Allison Mfg., CD500-3 Automatic, cross-drive.
Weight:
49,500 pounds, combat loaded.
Crew:
Driver + four.

2. Vehicle (modified M41 Light Tank chassis)

Length:
251 inches.
Width:
127 inches.
Height:
113 inches, travel mode.
Max. Allowable Speed:
45 miles per hour.
Fuel Tank Capacity:
140 gallons.
Average Cruising Range:
100 miles.
Fuel Consumption:
0.7 miles per gallon.
Fording Depth:
40 inches.
Maximum Climbing Grade:
60%.
Max. Vertical Obstacle:
28 inches.
Max. Ditch Width:
6 feet.

Gun:
M2A1 Dual Automatic Gun (Bofors system).
Caliber:
40mm.
Weight of Each Barrel:
271.5 pounds.
Weight of Autoloader and Tray:
212 pounds.
Overall Weight of Each Gun:
1,258.5 pounds.
Rifling:
16 grooves, right twist (twist increases from 1 turn in 45 inches at breech to 1 turn in 30 inches at muzzle).
Max. Rate of Fire:
240 rpm (both guns on automatic).
Max. Rounds in Rapid Before Cooling Required:
120.
Muzzle Velocity:
2,870 fps.
Recoil/Counter-recoil System:
Recuperator Spring and Oil.
Traverse:
360 degrees.
Power Traverse Speed:
40 degrees per second.
Elevation:
minus 3 degrees to plus 85 degrees in power mode.
Power Elevation Speed:
25 degrees per second.
Maximum Effective Range:
1550 meters against aerial targets
1850 meters against ground targets.
Maximum Range:
7,625 yards vertical
10,820 yards horizontal.
Barrel Life:
12,000 rounds.
Ammunition:
High Explosive Incendiary Tracer
High Explosive Tracer
Armor Piercing Tracer
Target Practice Tracer

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V6N7 (April 2003)
and was posted online on November 29, 2013


In the beginning: WOT was clearly better, but WT has grown into a better game.

I’ll start by saying I have not played a game of World of Tanks in months. At one point it was my main game. Sure, I didn’t play much when GTA 5 came out or Fallout 4, but I always came back to WOT. I’d been playing since closed beta, and had 16k battles in the live game, and some rare cool tanks, the A-32, the beta Sherman, the M-60 and VK7201, and even the T23, attesting to some good clan experiences. I was a solid 56% player and liked T5, and the Sherman, the standard M4 was my most played tank. 1083 battles, 56.14% win rate. That was an honest 56%, I rarely platooned, and had moments of great online glory, and terrible gaming shame. Key clan battles were both won, and towards the end of my time with a competitive clan, lost because of my play. I will freely admit I was never a great player, just a little above average, but I did really like the game.

The game itself is polished, physics are great, the models beautiful, and I liked how you could play a few quick games and quit. I also liked mods, because the vanilla game interface sucked, and who doesn’t want extra zoom? Me dropping out of WOT was long in coming, and I remember the glory days, where knowing the view system allowed you to do awesome shit on most maps, the tears were glorious, and medium and light tanks were fun. I don’t know anyone who plays anymore, at least on the regular, I know a pal logged in this weekend, I can’t be bothered. I think the glory days for WOT are long in the past, years of patching ago, when the clans and player base still had some heart. Before the draconian and sometimes indefensibly bad moderation ran anyone remotely interesting off the forums. The only thing that sparked any interest in me at all is a game mode, not being offered on what was the premier version, PC.

If you cannot tell from my previous review of War Thunder, I wasn’t a fan in the past and talked some mighty shit. I’ll say some points still stand, but overall, I could have been fairer and should have waited longer to review it. I will stand by it being a copy of WOT, at least in a few ways, though also an improvement, with its own spin, that makes it is own game and offers more options than WOT does, and I think Gaijin has a better outlook than Wargaming. Wargaming produced a great tank arcade game and ruined it, then produced a shit airplane arcade game and an almost passable, but still boring, and shallow, but pretty ship game. Gaijin has produced an amazingly pretty airplane game, with a good arcade mode, and decent realistic and simulator modes, though I do not agree with some of their flight model choices, I enjoy the hell out of Air Arcade mode, and love the selection of planes being able to do air missions really adds a fun aspect to the game if you like airplanes, and I do. Tank arcade, realistic and simulator battles are also available, and they keep things interesting with various events, and a PVE mode for both tanks and planes that gives a nice booster as a reward, win or lose it can be a nice fun daily diversion, and I’m only covering co-op PVE and PVP modes, the game has a lot of standalone air missions and campaigns that are single player PVE.

War Thunder also includes unguided rockets, ATGMs and smoke shells and launchers on tanks and most tanks have at least a share of the machine guns on the tank as usable weapons. Machine guns are not as useless as you would think, some of the most annoying TDs in the game, like the stupid waffentrager can be killed with the coax and, .50 machine gun on most US tanks. The machine guns can be used to knock down shacks and shoot down aircraft, and are a fun addition to the game. On vehicles with exposed crews, you can see them, allows you to machine gun them.

One thing War Thunder does not include is player driven self-propelled artillery vehicles. They must have recognized the cancerous effect vehicles like this have on a game. They do have a mechanic to call in an artillery barrage, but it’s nothing like being shot by an artillery sniper from across the map while on the move like in WOT. In War Thunder, Artillery rarely kills you if your tank has decent armor, or you drive out of the area when you get the warning. This factor alone makes WT much more enjoyable than WOT.

Let’s compare the two, in Arcade mode, since that is all WOT offers.

The interface: War Thunder edges out WOT.

On the surface, War Thunder looks a lot like WOT. Various nations, a bar with planes, and later tanks very similar controls, the tech tree and tank upgrades at first seem very close, you have an in-game currency you can buy with real money and one you earn in-game, and in this way, War Thunder has more options that could be viewed as pay to play than WOT. Specifically, you can just max your crew’s skills with real cash, if you were willing to drop a fair chunk of money on the game.

X-Ray: WOT has nothing like it.

This is an option in the vehicle viewer and WOT has nothing like it. It shows, in a somewhat generic way with the component, where everything important inside the tank is located. The crew, the gun, the optics, the turret ring and drive and transmission and final drives are all shown in generally the right places, though they do not always get it right, it’s still a very nice feature. In a game when killed, it shows the shot hitting your tank then what it takes out inside if anything.

Armor view: WOT can do with mods, what WT has built in.

This nifty little feature lets you look at the armor layout, and on planes and tanks and it calculates the thickness of a plate from the angle you are looking at, and gives you that, and the actual thickness based on its angle to the camera. WOT does not have a feature like this, but there were mods that added it.

Social: Like, talking to people or something…

The social options are about the same, or they seem like that, but since I do not care about anything but being able to have a chat room with some pals, social stuff is not interesting.

Free Exp: Bypassing shit tanks, and weapon grinds, you can do it in both.

In WOT, you always earn a small amount of free experience, and each tank is its own bank of available experience to convert. This allows you to burn real money for a large chunk of free exp you can sit on and use on any tank tree. It is very easy to run out of if you are willing to do things like burning through several tanks with free exp to get a T110E5 on release day for clan wars that evening, you can zero out your available exp, and no amount of real-world cash gets you more, you have to build it up on tanks by playing them.

In WT you end up with a massive bank of experience, and then you pay the currency purchased with real money on conversion right at the vehicle, and you get so much overtime, you’d have to drop a large chunk of cash on the game to burn through it all, and could max out a nation’s tree with ease if you wanted to with and had the cash. In just over a year of playing, I have nearly 6 million convertible exp points. At low levels, you can deck out a tank or bypass it for a few bucks, but at the high end, you’re looking at much higher amount of real money. You, of course, can, just like in WOT, earn the exp on the vehicle by playing it, and spend no money at all.

How free exp is applied to vehicle parts is different in one key area, in world of tanks your researching a new type of item. So, if it’s a gun, motor or radio used in later tanks or other lines, it’s unlocked in them all. This is a huge cost saver, and I like this version better than WTs version. In War Thunder, you are not unlocking new technology and putting the new better part on, you’re paying for a brand new barrel, or motor, or tranny, etc, because your brand new tank isn’t brand new with inferior parts to upgrade, it just warns the hell out, and you fix it up as you go. Although I like the World of Tanks approach better, it’s not a deal-breaker in War Thunder, and from perspective of getting players to spend money, I think WTs works better and a key advantage to the WT system is, you can unlock a tank and move past it without being forced to unlock a bunch of crap on the tank itself, so if you don’t want to play it, in most cases you can unlock it, then start on the next tank, and not be penalized for not unlocking key parts on the earlier tank or anything on it.

In both games, the tanks are pretty bad stock, but rarely in War Thunder is a tank straight up useless stock. I’m looking at you M7 Medium (when WOT was good) and your crappy 37mm gun at T5.

I think that’s the extent of uses for free exp in WT. In WOT, on rare occasions, it can also be used to train up crews, but it was a very rare and hugely costly thing when they did allow it.

Crews: Too many in WOT, just right in WT.

War Thunder has a simpler and better system, this is an area War Thunder is much better than WOT. In World of tanks, each tank has its own crew, and if you want to store them when you sell a tank, they have to go in a barracks you pay to upgrade with real cash. You can retrain a crew to another vehicle, but it can only be the crew of one type of tank at a time, or of a premium tank in the same class, light, medium, etc. This means if you like having a lot of tanks, you have a ton of crews, each crew levels, and has skills. A great crew could make a big difference in a tank’s performance, but having a ton of tanks you play a lot means you skill your crews up slow. You can retrain, but if you do not want to pay a fairly steep price in real money bought currency, you lose a big chunk of exp from the crew this part of the game can become a big money hole quick.

War Thunder handles crews in a very different way, and if you really had to, you could get away with only three ground vehicle crews for arcade mode, since you can only spawn in three tanks. This means if you want, you can divide up all the vehicles from one nation up to those crews, each one requiring currency earned by playing the game, or spending bought currency, for the very highest skill, after you dump a ton of in-game cash too, making leveling a crew without playing it plausible but very very expensive in real money. I go with six crews for each nation, but only use three or four for ground crews, and then all six as aircrews.

In my opinion, the War Thunder crew system is better, and even though you can dump cash into it, doing so doesn’t offer much of an advantage for the huge cash dump it would take to max out six crews, but it does help you keep a smaller number of crews so you can focus the experience earned by playing. When you couple in the cost of garage slots in WOW, and how much real money that costs, War Thunder wins out there too for the player who likes to collect tanks, and you can’t sell anything so no worries on what tanks you want to keep WT.

The Tech Trees: WT wins again.

I was never all that bothered by the prototypes making it into World of Tanks, and I think many of them belong. Tanks like the T23, Vk3002DB, and M7 Medium (it’s a damn medium. ) either saw limited production, serious consideration, with some real blueprints, or made a whole factory for the damn things, so they make reasonable additions. Strait up making up overpowered tanks from very preliminary drawings, and then making game ruining tanks out of them takes it to far. Tanks like the T10 TDs, the Waffentrager, pretty much the whole E series I think helped ruin the game. I hit a point, years ago, where there was not a single tank in the game I cared to get, so I stopped playing anything past T8 and mostly T5, and then not at all.

The Vehicles: War thunder wins in variety and customizability.

Almost a tie, but War Thunder wins, since Wargaming’s plane game sucked and looked like crap, and was not integrated at all.

The early models still in the game are pretty bad at this point, but the new model’s World of Tanks has been releasing are very good. They look a little sharper to me than corresponding War Thunder models, but it’s very close on how pretty the models are.

War Thunder models look a little softer, giving them a slightly more cartoonish appearance, and I run both games at max settings with no issues. War Thunder edges WOT out though because the tank decoration system is so much better. In World of Tanks, you get decals you can apply to a tank, for real money if you want it to be permanent they have fixed locations only, two emblems, and two inscriptions. The same for camo and camo gives a small view distance reduction bonus. If you want to use the same decals on different tanks you pay for it again the same with the tanks camo. They do let you rent them for extended times in in-game earned currency.

In War Thunder, tanks have individual camo, and it can be purchased for a similar cost to WOT. But you can also earn it by playing the game with that tank and getting kills or just battle count in some cases. Most tanks you will have all the camo by 300 battles. That’s not all the customization you get though. In WT, you have two other categories, six slots for decorators, 3D decorations, and 4 decal slots.

The decorators range from various tree branches, that actually make your tank much harder to spot in realistic and simulator battles, to animal skulls, various road signs, some German crosses and a red star, a French SMG, and dolls, an accordion, gas masks, helmets, guitars, grenade racks, garden gnomes, Jack-o-lanterns, and even a bar sign. These are 3D items and can be fairly freely placed, though not over some items on the hulls.

The decals are like the ones in WOT, but better in all ways, since in WOT they are fixed in size, location, and orientation. They can be rotated, duplicated on the other side, and resized. There are a ton of them, from kill markers to historic tank and airplane decorations, some can be bought, there are many earned decorators too, but not the camo branches or most of the more silly decorations.

This variety of decorations and the surprising ways you can use them to make for some very interesting vehicles makes War Thunder a much more visually diverse game. The War Thunder tank models are better in one other way too much of the exterior of the tank can be damaged and even blown off, while the tank still fights on. I’ve seen storage boxes and tools completely blown away, even fenders and other items can be knocked off some tanks.

Premium Vehicles: It’s a wash, so close in execution it’s almost the same.

The system is very similar in between the games. In WOT, a premium tank was supposed to be a tank not quite as good as a decked out regular tank in the same tier, but any crew from that class could use it without training, and they made more exp, free exp, and credits. WOT has not always held to this guideline, and some premium tanks ended up being better than fully decked out tanks in their tier, in most cases these vehicles were removed from sale, but the players with them kept them. Older premiums tend to be worse than newer ones on WOT though, and a few premiums were out and out duds.

In WT, the premium vehicles are just tiered based on their performance and will be generally as good as anything at the same rating. Crews have to be specifically trained on it to use it, but it’s cheaper than a normal vehicle and they make more exp and credits. Like in WOT they can be variants of vehicles in the game already, copies, or oddballs, but in WT most are copies of a vehicle on another nations tech tree like the lend-lease M4A2 76W tank you can buy on the Russian tree. It is the same tank as the one on the regular tree on the US line, just premium. But they do have a fair number of special vehicles only available as a premium, the P-38K and several other prototype planes, RAMII, the T14, and T29 both US Heavy Tanks only available as premium tanks. They also have some premiums, where you have to buy another premium first, to unlock the second. The prime example being the Sherman Calliope has to be bought before the M26 T99 can be purchased. Both these rocket equipped tanks are a riot to play. Nothing says ‘hello’ like a bunch of rockets to the face! I even got an airplane with one!

Since this is the Sherman tank site, how do the Sherman models compare: WT edges WOT out again, but its close.

War Thunder: All the Shermans used in the war

Lots of solid Shermans, it has more Shermans and has them tiered better, and the models, for the most part, are more realistic. The early war DV M4A1 Sherman in WT tiered at 3.3 is my favorite tank both in model and gameplay. When you get in a 3.3 game you can dominate if you don’t go stupid like I do about half the time. The M4A1 76W model is also very nice, with only a few small flaws. The game has just about all the important versions of the Sherman in game. WOT does not. WTs Sherman models are all solid, and for the most part, since there is a feature called X-Ray, you can use in the garage to view the interior components inside the tank, even the insides are pretty accurate. They were a little off here and there as you can see in the old review, but they’ve done a good job with most of it, but the M4A2 76w tanks still have the add-on side armor they shouldn’t have. So lots of good solid models, at all the right tiers, balanced well enough. Not many rare versions, even in the premium line, and there is enough precedent for tanks like the M7 Medium to show up as a premium tank since the T14 and T20 are in the game as such. They are releasing new vehicles at a high rate, so who knows what we will see, but true napkin tanks are very rare in WT, with just a few scattered in the German and Japanese and French trees.

WOT: Franken Shermans, miss labeled models, and rare tanks.

WOT is a more mixed bag and still has a turret that was never used on the hull their T5 M4 model has, and they call it an M4 when it’s an M4A1. This is a silly flaw that has been in the game since beta. In the American tree, they have the messed up M4/M4A1 at T5, and the M4A3E8 76W at T6 with the Jumbo and all have decent models, though they have weapon options never offered this is somewhat normal in WOT. Where WOT shines in the Sherman department, is in its oddball Shermans, it’s got some good ones.

Here’s a list of WOT’s oddball and interesting Shermans: The M4A2E4 this Sherman was the testbed for torsion bar suspension on the Sherman the original model was recently replaced with a very nice new model, it was only given to US beta testers and is pretty rare in the game. The M4 Improved, a proposed improved all welded Sherman with a better turret, also a very nice model, and a standard premium. The M4A3E8 Thunderbolt VII premium Sherman, based on Creighton Abram’s 7 th wartime Sherman, the model features the common to the 3 rd Army’s field modified Jumbo with a bunch of extra armor welded on. The M4A1 revalorize a French premium Sherman with a big 105 gun wraps up the oddballs. It’s an ok model, not fantastic. There is also a Fury premium that looks just like the movie tank.

Airplanes: WOT HAS NO PLANES

The War Thunder airplane models were always better than the World of Warplanes models and gameplay is better too. The tank decals can be used on the planes and vice versa. They have a lot of very cool airplanes in the game, planes I haven’t seen in other games. They have all the cats, including the late war F7F and F8F, in the Bearcats case, there are two versions. There are five F4U Corsair variants, two F4U-1A models, but no birdcage -1. The rest make sense though, 1d, 1C, -4, -4B. Lots of P-51s, with and without Merlins, including the H and Twin! P-47s galore, including the 47N, and they are all great ground attack planes. Like the tank models, many are not perfect, things like the early Corsairs having cockpit floors, and the late Corsairs, the -4s, have a B series R2800 modeled when they should have a C series but these are small complaints. The inclusion of the P-38 and a lot of versions is overshadowed somewhat by them having terrible air to ground load outs, but they include the prototype K, and it’s rad, so, still a win.

The plane side of the game being fun was a surprise, but I really enjoy arcade mode, I’m just not good at it though. On occasion, I’ll pull off a good game or two. If you like WWII and Korean War era air warfare, the air game is pretty damn fun.

Gameplay: The real Meat and Potatoes

General: Skill-based play wins out

In my opinion, War Thunder rewards players with good hand-eye coordination and good reflexes more than World of Tanks. The aiming mechanic in WOT is stupid and adds inaccuracies for gun traversing, elevation, the speed of movement, and you have to hold the crosshairs still for an amount of time that varied gun to gun for the shot to be accurate. This was one of the most frustrating aspects, and an aspect used to balance the game way to much, in WOT. WT has no such mechanics, you get the crosshairs on target and pull the trigger, and accuracy is only based on base gun accuracy and crew skill. Both games use random number generators in their shooting system, but WT’s is much better, and not used to balance nations. In this single way, War Thunder is leaps ahead of WOT.

Both games require more thought than I can always put in, but skill seems to shine out a little more in WT. The tier system helps, they are decently balanced, and you rarely end up in battles you can do nothing in, it happens, but far less than in WOT. Both games have very skilled players, but they really seem to shine more in WT, and the player base seems less criminally stupid most of the time.

Mods: WT keeps it pure, and wins again.

War Thunder has none. At first, this seemed bad, but as I learned to play the game, I enjoyed being able to just jump in and play post patch. Frankly, the mods in WOT ranged from downright game breaking to perverted distractions. No mods mean an even playing field other than the tanks specs and the player’s skills. Not some mod that lets them zoom in a target exact locations, or shows the last place a person was on a map, or where trees were falling or worse. There are known cheats in WT, but they are actively banning accounts, forever, for using them. In this area, War Thunder wins hands down.

There are a ton of very well done player made skins you can add, mostly to airplanes. If you know of a historic aircraft, and the plane is in WT, there is probably a skin for it. I found skins for Ira Kepford, Richard Bong, Tommy McGuire, Charlie MacDonald, Greg “Pappy” Boyington, etc.

WOT has MODs, some are almost cheating, many slow the game down, and they are a pain in the ass to keep up to date like in any game. WTs interface is good enough vanilla.

Maps: No game is perfect, but WOT ruined all their good maps.

WOT had some cool maps early on, but even the originals in the game now have been tweaked to reward close in fighting. Almost all the new maps, no matter how cool they looked, tended to be the kinda map that forces fighting in one or two corridors, with maybe a flank option that was easy to guard. Even after physics, they found ways to keep areas off-limits in ways that seemed artificial, and ruined light and medium tanks so why bother caring about physics anyway. Another thing sad about WOT is how little of the world is destructible in battles. Sure, a few houses here and there can be knocked down with a tank, but structures that should not stop a tank do in WOT.

War Thunder has some very cool maps and some crappy ones, but they all feature more destructible items, including large buildings that eventually collapse if heavy fighting goes on around them. I’d say the WT maps do not look as good, they have the same slight cartoonish feel, but they are more interesting and varied, and allow a bad tank driver to get places he should not go, a much rarer occurrence in WOTs much more gamed up maps. Surprise flanking happens all the time in WT, the maps are so open in many cases it’s impossible to guard against clever and determined players. I think that’s a good thing, and some of the most fun I’ve had in War Thunder have been cases where I snuck a Sherman or light into the enemy’s rear and get a bunch of kills before they even know I’m there. I die trying to replicate these games a lot.

Game Modes: WT has multiple modes people actually play so win for it again.

WOT toyed around with various modes, they added a historic battle mode that flopped and they removed. Clan wars were or are a thing but at this point, who cares, the rest of the game is a nightmare. Classic arcade battle mode changed little two sub-modes that could be toggled on being fairly unpopular in particular on maps not designed for the mode.

WT has an arcade mode, with a much tighter tier system. It also has a realistic mode that mixes in Airplanes of the same tier range, and is significantly harder than Arcade mode, and has a big enough following I never wait long on my limited forays into it. The lack of markers alone is huge, spotting something to bomb with a plane is tough. This mode is more rewarding, but slower paced and requires careful attention. I plan to play it more when my crews and tanks are all decked out. There is a simulator mode, even more, hardcore, like rip the wings of a plane off if you maneuver too hard, realistic. This mode is to much trouble for me, but I do not fault the people who want a challenge, and the thing to remember is WOT has none of these modes.

The way the match is set up is different as well since the battle is one by taking objectives, not the player’s flag. The are several variations on the basic them and fewer maps, but also fewer dud maps.

There are Arcade, realistic, and simulator battles dedicated to just air battles as well. There are also a whole series of single-player air missions, you can play in any mode, and they offer a few credits and experience, and offer a lot of missions loosely based on real historical ones.

There is also a PVE air and land battle option, that the first time played gives you a booster the better you do, the better the booster once a day, but you can play the mode anytime. I do the land battle one at the Sherman tier, 3.7, and can win if the rest of the team is decent the M10 GMC is great for that mode. With the PVE modes having a large variety of tanks and crews can be an advantage over having just three. Also, some of the special event modes don’t let you respawn a dead tank, so having five or six trained tank crews can be good. The PVE mode, in both air and land battle, involves protecting a location from 12 waves of enemy tanks or planes. You can actually make good exp and credits in this mode with a win where you kill lots of stuff.

Three tanks a match versus one life: A second and third chance if you mess up is nice!

One of the biggest differences between WOT and WT in arcade mode is in WOT, if you do something dumb and die early, game over. WT, you can spawn three different tanks, so you can get back in and try and not die like an idiot two more times.

It’s nice to be able to have a few fast games, and then hit the road, but overall, I’ve grown to like running three tanks, and it makes platooning more fun. It also allows good players to have a much greater influence on the match. It also explains why there are so many vehicles, even models of the same vehicle, at the same tier.


America's M4 Sherman Tank: World War II Wonder Weapon or Blunder Weapon?

Because of its propensity to catch fire, the Sherman soon gained several nicknames. “Tommycooker” (which was a World War I trench cooker), “Ronsons” (a la the cigarette lighter that were guaranteed in their ads to “Light up the first time, every time!”), and also what the Free Poles called “The Burning Grave.”

For the Allied tankers and infantrymen of the American, British, Canadian, and Free French armies battling German Panther and Tiger tanks in Normandy in the summer of 1944, the Sherman tank’s failures were glaringly evident as their own shells bounced off the hulls of the Nazi armor and they were themselves destroyed at a far greater range by the powerful German tanks.

It was, therefore, somewhat ironic that the outgunned and lighter armored Shermans nevertheless defeated the retreating Nazis by their sheer weight of numbers. Today, more than seven decades after the end of the greatest war in military history, the debate continues. Was the American-designed and -built Sherman M4 medium tank a colossal blunder, a wonder weapon, or both?

Author Philip Trewhitt wrote, “The Medium Tank M4 Sherman used the same basic hull and suspension as the M3, but mounted the main armament on the gun turret rather than the hull. Easy to build and an excellent fighting platform, it proved to be a war-winner for the Allies. By the time production ceased in 1945, more than 40,000 had been built. There were many variants, including engineers tanks, assault tanks, rocket launchers, recovery vehicles, and mine-clearers. The British employed the Sherman extensively, notably at the Battle of El Alamein in 1942. Though outgunned by German tanks and with insufficient armor to compete in the later stages of the war, the sheer numbers produced overwhelmed enemy armored forces. Its hardiness kept it in service with some South American countries until very recently.”

The Evolving M4 Sherman Series

With a crew of five, the Sherman weighed over 66,000 pounds, was 19 feet, four inches long, eight feet, seven inches wide, and nine feet high. It had a range of 100 miles, armor of .59-2.99 inches thick, and a single 75mm turret gun, plus one coaxial 7.52mm machine gun and a .50 caliber machine gun on the turret. The power plant consisted of twin General Motors 6-71 diesel engines that developed 500 horsepower. Its maximum road speed was 30 miles per hour, and it could ford a stream three feet deep, mount a vertical obstacle two feet high, or cross a trench seven feet, five inches wide.

The M4 series entered service in 1941, and was built by American automobile manufacturers Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. Both hulls and turrets were either welded or cast. The five-speed transmission was a synchromesh with front sprocket drive and a controlled differential, while the vertical volute suspension was changed to horizontal on later models, and its fuel capacity was between 140-175 gallons.

The most refined Sherman model was the M4A3. It differed from the M4A2 primarily in turret and suspension, utilizing the horizontal volute spring system, while its armament was the more effective high-velocity 76mm gun and its armor was thicker in vulnerable areas.

Ford built the M4A3 between June 1942 and September 1943, and later Grand Blanc produced the variant. Other improvements were a vision cupola for the commander, wet ammunition storage, and a loader’s hatch.

The M4A3 Sherman medium tank also had a five-man crew, a weight of 71,024 pounds, and a range of 100 miles. Its length with gun was 24 feet, eight inches, and the hull length was 20 feet, seven inches. Its width was eight feet, nine inches, and its height was 11 feet, 2.85 inches. Its armor plating was up to 3.94 inches, and a single 7.62mm coaxial machine gun complemented the 76mm main weapon. The powerplant consisted of a Ford GAA V8 gasoline engine developing 400-500 horsepower. Its maximum road speed was 30 miles per hour, and its fording ability was three feet. It could surmount a vertical obstacle two feet high and a trench 7 feet, five inches wide.

40,000 Shermans vs 6,635 Panzers

Against those 40,000 Allied Shermans, the Nazis fielded but 1,835 Tiger and King Tiger tanks and 4,800 Panther tanks, for a grand total of 6,635. Some estimates of Sherman wartime production reach an astounding 50,000.

Ironically, the United States entered World War II without an armored fighting vehicle such as the Sherman available. Thus, its new design was developed too quickly and the normal, slow-moving series of developmental stages was cast aside in favor of getting the M4 into immediate mass production. The Allies paid for this hasty decision later on in the summer of 1944 in the fields and hedgerow country of embattled Normandy against far superior German armor.

The enormous production numbers also resulted from this initial strategic decision to produce Shermans in large quantities rather than wait for a heavier armored vehicle, such as the M26 Pershing heavy tank, which finally arrived just before war’s end in 1945.

On the pro side of the ledger, the M4 Sherman was technically uncomplicated, reliable, and mechanically well constructed. It also helped that the Allied air forces enjoyed a huge aerial superiority over the virtually beaten German Luftwaffe. Working in tandem with well-coordinated Allied infantry, artillery, and air forces, the plentiful and trusty Shermans were able to vanquish most German armored formations simply by ganging up on them in overwhelming numbers when all else failed.

On the con side, however, the Sherman’s 75mm and 76mm guns just could not pierce the mighty Tiger tank’s frontal armor even at short range while the latter could vanquish the Shermans with impunity from greater distances. Another drawback was that, unlike the German tanks and the Soviet-built T-34 medium tank, the Sherman made a far more visible target in combat because of its height.

In addition, noted one source, “In fact, to destroy a German Tiger, the Shermans had to hit it from the side or from behind, and obviously if the Tiger saw them approaching, it could destroy some Shermans before the others could eventually destroy it.” That was, alas, too often the case.

Powerplants for U.S. tank production were always a major problem, and eventually this led to the development of the 8-cylinder Ford-produced engine. Although originally designed for aircraft, the Ford 8 cylinder was gasoline fueled and had 500 gross horsepower. Following testing, the engine was authorized by January 1942 for Sherman usage by the U.S. Army Ordnance Committee, and with the new engine, the first M4A3 was completed by May 1942.

Testing was completed at the General Motors Proving Ground, with minor changes being made. By September 1943, fully 1,600 tanks had been constructed when Ford ceased production. This was taken over by the Detroit Tank Arsenal and also the Fisher Tank Arsenal, and by mid-1943 there were already numerous other changes.

Stated one account, “Distinguishing turret features included an all around vision cupola for the commander—except in early production, which retained the earlier circular split ring hatch—and an oval shaped loader’s hatch. Those vehicles produced with the circular split ring commander’s hatch had it replaced by the all around vision cupola in the field as supplies became available.”

The Widely Used M4 Sherman

The Canadian Army replaced its Ram tank with the versatile Sherman model for the invasion of Italy in July 1943. Sherman tanks were also produced in Canada under license agreement.

Named after the American Union Army General William Tecumseh Sherman, the M4 medium tank was used not only in World War II, but also in the Greek Civil War, the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, the Korean War, the Suez Crisis of 1956, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, and the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.

The M4 Sherman’s Debut

The original M4 was debuted on August 31, 1940, with final characteristics completed on April 18, 1941 at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. The first pilot M4 was finished on September 2, 1941, and then put into mass production during February 1942. Altogether, there were seven models: M4, M4A1, M4A2, M4A3, M4A4, M4A5, and M4A6.

Stated one account, “The sub types differed mainly in terms of engine, although the M4A1 differed from the M4 by its fully cast hull rather than by engine the M4A4 had a longer engine system that also required a longer hull, longer suspension system, and more track blocks. The M4A5 was an administrative placeholder for Canadian production, and the M4A6 also elongated the chassis but totaled fewer than 100 tanks. Only the M4A2 and M4A6 were diesel most Shermans were gasoline fueled.”


Medium Tank M4E1 - History

The first track types used for the U.S. medium tank series consisted of a steel frame with flat rubber moulded blocks. The steel frame carried two rubber bushed pins.
During the Spring of 1942 the Japanese advance cut off sources of natural rubber in the Far East. Since each set of tracks (incl. spares) required 1,734 pounds of rubber, and synthetic rubber being a poor substitute, several designs of steel tracks were made. On these the full rubber block was replaced by steel treads riveted or welded to the link frames. Later, tracks with a combination of steel treads and moulded rubber tops were manufactured. Besides the early flat treads, parallel steel bars and steel or rubber chevrons were introduced to give a better grip on certain types of soil.
During 1942/1943 Canada designed and tested a track type consisting of single pin cast steel links, doing away entirely with the double rubber bushed pin type design. Aptly named Canadian Dry Pin or C.D.P., this track type looked a lot like German tank tracks. It did not not use valuable rubber and they proved both cheaper to make and lighter than the U.S. type steel links. C.D.P. tracks were fitted to Canadian-built Sherman related AFVs.

The double rubber bushed pin track came in two basic types: 16" wide with 1-1/8" pins and 16-9/16" wide (or 16-1/2", sources differ) with 1-1/4" pins. There was one type of 16-9/16" wide track, the T37, which had 1.44" pins.
All medium tanks and related AFVs with VVSS used 79 (or 78) links per track, except for the M3A4, M4A4 and M4A6 which used 83 links per track since they had longer hulls.
An example of how track types superseded each other is documented for the Ram. The Ram Tank II Illustrated Parts List says the first 1,157 Ram tanks (built from 12-'41 to 01-'43) were originally fitted with Rubber Standard (WE210) track, even though early examples can be seen fitted with T41 track. The following 792 (built from 02-'43 to mid '43) were fitted with T54E1 track. T49 and A.S.F.(T37) were supplied as spares only. However, in use any Ram could be seen fitted with other track types as well.

The two tables linked below list the known track types and their characteristics. Note: pictures of track links will follow in due time when I have good pictures for all types. Also see my Wanted section at the bottom of this page.

Track link types for VVSS

End connectors for VVSS tracks

With the introduction of the HVSS system the track was altered. The outside guide horns on the end connectors were replaced by a single inside guide horn. First, a single dry pin cast steel link was produced, but this was replaced by inside guide, double rubber bushed track designs. These came in full rubber and steel/rubber combinations.
All AFVs with HVSS used 79 (or 78) links per track, except for the M40 155-mm GMC and the M43 8-inch HMC (which had longer hulls).


Medium Tank M4E1 - History

DETECTIVE WORK: LAFAYETTE POOL'S THREE TANKS

By Stephen 'Cookie' Sewell
Museum Ordnance Magazine
May 1995

Back in September 1993, I wrote an article for Museum Ordnance which questioned a number of "ultimate truths" about German armor and WWII. Some thought I had committed heresy. But others have written or called me about some of the things that I brought up in that article. One of the more useful, but at the same time more vexing, items which they wanted me to try and find out were the markings used on the Sherman commanded by SSG Lafayette Pool.

For those of you who did not read that article, Pool is credited in the official history of the 3rd Armored Division as the top scoring US tanker of WWII with some 258 enemy vehicles destroyed 1,000-plus killed and 250 prisoners taken. All of this took place in a combat career that covered only 81 days in action (27 June - 15 September 1944) and three different Shermans. The question, since there are apparently no known pictures of Pool or his tank currently in circulation, and only a fuzzy Yank drawing of Pool himself, the problem is trying to use some old fashioned detective work to figure out what they would have looked like.

By studying Pool's career, we can get an idea of the time frame and the particular type of tank that he would have been using. First off, we need to establish what kind of tank Pool was using. When the 3rd Armored came ashore in Normandy (23 June 1944), it was primarily equipped with M4A1 tanks with the 75mm cannon. In the same time frame, the 2nd Armored Division also came ashore, but most of its tanks were M4's, not M4Al's. This is a little fact which helps sort out "who's who" in the period photos. 3rd Armored Shermans were also exclusively shod with the T48 rubber chevron tracks 2nd Armored had them, and then took them off in July 1944 they would not get them back until December 1944 and the "Bulge."

In this time period, 3rd Armored Division tanks were AN613 olive drab with markings in white and yellow "bumper" numbers repeated on the sides of the vehicle. The yellow numbers used by 3rd Armored generally had a dash between the letter (signifying the company) and the number itself. 2nd Armored did not use the dash as a rule.

From historical data in the divisional history, we know that Pool was the platoon sergeant, and later the acting platoon leader, of 3rd Platoon, I Company (3rd battalion), 32nd Armored Regiment, which was part of the division's Combat Command A. Convention in use by armored units at the time had the platoon leader (a lieutenant) using the Xl tank, and the platoon sergeant using the X5 tank. As 3rd Platoon, I Company, Pool's bumper number should have been 1-35. Ergo, the bumper number in full should read: 3A32AI-35, with the turret number in yellow as also 1-35.

Pool's tank was named IN THE MOOD. Based on traditions in use at the time, the three should have been IN THE MOOD, IN THE MOOD II, and IN THE MOOD III.

As for each tank and the markings it would have used, the answer would seem to be as follows. The first IN THE MOOD lasted from 23 June until 29 June, when CCA attacked for the first time at Villers Foussard. IN THE MOOD was nailed by a German Panzerfaust and the crew had to bail out of the stricken tank. Shortly afterwards, Pool received IN THE MOOD II, which appears from his combat log to have been an M4A1(76)W. This tank, like all others in the division at this time, had the "hip ring" loader's hatch. Based on the date of issue (July 1944), it should have initially been marked as per IN THE MOOD but with the identifying Roman numeral II after the name.

IN THE MOOD II lasted from around 1 July 1944 to 17 August, when, as he led CCA in the process of clearing remaining German forces from the village of Fromental. P-38's attacked what they thought were "Tigers" and knocked out IN THE MOOD II. Pool got another M4A1(W) the next day, and kept this tank as IN THE MOOD III, until it was destroyed on the night of 15 September while attempting to force the Siegfried Line at Munsterbusch, southwest of Aachen. By this time, the only markings on the vehicle would have been bumper codes, perhaps a serial number (photos show most of them either painted out or worn down to the point of being unreadable), and a letter I in white on the mantlet above the 76mm gun. This tank probably had a muzzle brake and the oval loader's hatch IN THE MOOD II would not have had either one.

In his last battle, Pool was hit by a Panther before he could turn and fire. While trying to back his damaged Sherman up, the Panther hit it a second time, catching the tank on the edge of a ditch and flipping it over as the same round blew Pool out of the commander's hatch, seriously slashing open one of his legs with a shell splinter. Pool was irate that his tank was knocked out, but he was too badly wounded to continue and was evacuated. The leg was too badly mangled to save, and Pool watched any hope of his returning to amateur boxing disappear as the leg was amputated.

Pool is noteworthy as he fought in 21 separate engagements over his 81-day career. In nearly all of them, he was the lead tank in the lead platoon of the lead task force of the lead combat command of the division. Truly, IN THE MOOD, whichever one you choose, was the "Spearhead's Spearhead."

Balin, George D-Day Tank Battles Beachhead to Breakout. Tanks Illustrated 10. Arms and Armour Press 1984.

Becker, Emile and Milmeister, Jean Marquages Et Organisation US Army (ETO 1944-45). Printed in Luxembourg.

Historian, 3rd Armored Division Spearhead in the West: The 3rd Armored Division 1941-45. HQS US Forces Europe 1945 (reprinted 1980 by Battery Press).

Hunnicutt, R.P. Sherman: A History of the American Medium Tank. Presidio Press 1978.

Wise, Terence D-Day to Berlin: Armour Camouflage and Markings. Arms and Armour Press 1979.

Zaloga, Steven D-Day Tank Warfare. Concord Armor at War Series 7002. Concord Press 1994.

Zaloga, Steven The Sherman Tank in US and Allied Service. Vanguard 26. Osprey Books 1982.


This document, produced by the Army Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology office, provides an encyclopedic reference to hardware and systems used by today's Army. The typical entry includes mission, description, system interdependencies, program status, acquisition phase, projected activities, foreign military sales, and contractors. Here is a partial list of contents:

Weapon Systems * 2.75 Inch Rocket Systems (Hydra-70) * Abrams Tank Upgrade * Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) * Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasure/Common Missile Warning System (ATIRCM/CMWS) * Air Warrior (AW) * Air/Missile Defense Planning and Control System (AMDPCS) * Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL) * All Terrain Lifter Army System (ATLAS) * Armored Knight * Army Key Management System (AKMS) * Artillery Ammunition * Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (AVCATT) * Battle Command Sustainment Support System (BCS3) * Biometric Enabling Capability (BEC) * Black Hawk/UH/HH-60 * Bradley Fighting Vehicle Systems Upgrade * Calibration Sets Equipment (CALSETS) * CH-47F Chinook * Chemical Biological Medical Systems-Diagnostics * Chemical Biological Medical Systems-Prophylaxis * Chemical Biological Medical Systems-Therapeutics * Chemical Biological Protective Shelter (CBPS) M8E1 * Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Dismounted Reconnaissance Sets, Kits, and Outfits (CBRN DR SKO) * Chemical Demilitarization * Clip-on Sniper Night Sight (SNS) * Close Combat Tactical Trainer (CCTT) * Combat Service Support Communications (CSS Comms) * Command Post Systems and Integration (CPS&I) Standardized Integrated Command Post Systems (SICPS) * Common Hardware Systems (CHS) * Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) * Countermine * Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM)/Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC) * Cryptographic Systems * Defense Enterprise Wideband SATCOM System (DEWSS) * Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) * Distributed Learning System (DLS) * Dry Support Bridge (DSB) * Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS) * Enhanced Q-36 * Excalibur (M982) * Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) * Fixed Wing * Force Protection Systems * Force Provider (FP) * Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) * Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control (FAAD C2) * Future Tank Main Gun Ammunition (FTMGA) * General Fund Enterprise Business Systems (GFEBS) * Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-Army) * Global Command and Control System-Army (GCCS-A) * Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) * Guardrail Common Sensor (GR/CS) * Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) DPICM/Unitary/Alternative Warhead (Tactical Rockets) * Harbormaster Command and Control Center (HCCC) * Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT)/HEMTT Extended Service Program (ESP) * Heavy Loader * HELLFIRE Family of Missiles * Helmet Mounted Night Vision Devices (HMNVD) * High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) * High Mobility Engineer Excavator (HMEE) I and III * High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) Recapitalization (RECAP) Program * Improved Environmental Control Units (IECU) * Improved Ribbon Bridge * Improved Target Acquisition System (ITAS) * Improvised Explosive Device (IEDD) * Individual Semi-Automatic Airburst System (ISAAS)-XM25 * Installation Protection Program (IPP) * Instrumentable-Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (I-MILES) * Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) * Integrated Family of Test Equipment (IFTE) * Interceptor Body Armor * Javelin * Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) * Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) * Joint Biological Point Detection System (JBPDS) * Joint Biological Standoff Detection System (JBSDS) * Joint Biological Tactical Detection System (JBTDS) * Joint Chem/Bio Coverall for Combat Vehicle Crewman (JC3) * Joint Chemical Agent Detector (JCAD) M4E1 * Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological Agent Water Monitor (JCBRAWM)


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